WGA Strike: so what happened?



The WGA went on strike at midnight ET after 11 hours of negotiations at an LA Hotel. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) President Nick Counter issued the following statement: "Notwithstanding the fact that negotiations were ongoing, the WGA decided to start their strike in New York.  When we asked if they would "stop the clock" for the purpose of delaying the strike to allow negotiations to continue, they refused. We made an attempt at meeting them in a number of their key areas including Internet streaming and jurisdiction in New Media. Ultimately, the guild was unwilling to compromise on most of their major demands. It is unfortunate that they choose to take this irresponsible action."

However, the WGA said on its website that AMPTP walked out of the negotiations and issued its own statement: "Early today, the WGA completely withdrew its DVD proposal, which the Companies said was a stumbling block. Yet, the Companies still insisted on the following:

* No jurisdiction for most of new media writing.
* No economic proposal for the part of new media writing where they do propose to give coverage.
* Internet downloads at the DVD rate.
* No residual for streaming video of theatrical product.
* A ‘promotional’ proposal that allows them to reuse even complete movies or TV shows on any platform with no residual. This proposal alone destroys residuals.
* A ‘window’ of free reuse on the Internet that makes a mockery of any residual.
The AMPTP made no response to any of the other proposals that the WGA has made since July. The AMPTP proposed that today’s meeting be ‘off the record’, meaning no press statements, but they have reneged on that."

The writers were and are looking to double their percent share of DVD revenues from 4 cents per DVD to 8 cents per DVD, and to receive 2.5% of all digital revenues from the 0.3% studios are offering.

The hit will be late-night talk shows, relying on writers spin on current events for monologues and other entertainment. Daytime TV, including live talk shows such as "The View" and soap operas, which typically tape about a week’s worth of shows in advance, would be next. Production of movies and primetime shows have enough scripts already written to last just about until midseason. Already, CBS announced Letterman and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson are in repeats this week.

TVBR/RBR observation: What we don’t understand is why Letterman and Ferguson don’t shorten their monologs and book more guests. It may not end up being all that bad of a show! NBC’s Leno and Late Night with Conan O’Brien are giving it a try. We’ll see what happens but it does not look promising.